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Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers breaks ground on first phase of revitalization plan within the greater Dunbar community

Community leaders and more than 200 housing officials from across the nation joined The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers (HACFM) for a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 30 that marked a major milestone in HACFM’s Greater Dunbar Initiative.

HACFM is commencing the initial phase of The Greater Dunbar Initiative, a comprehensive transformation plan for the greater Dunbar community. The first step in this process is to develop a 90-unit housing development on Cleveland Avenue to house residents while HACFM begins the large-scale revitalization of the 199-unit Southward Village public housing community in Fort Myers.

The Greater Dunbar Initiative aims to transform Southward Village into a mixed-income community, which improves existing affordable housing units for residents while expanding choices, creating market-rate amenities, and adding new mixed-income housing to create a resilient and healthy neighborhood moving forward.

“Breaking ground on the Cleveland Avenue housing development is a monumental occasion as we mark the start of transformational change for the greater Dunbar community,” said Marcia Davis, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers. “We are thrilled to launch this community-wide initiative, and are thankful for the many partners and supporters who join in our vision and who are making this positive change possible for the people of Dunbar.”

The Cleveland Avenue housing development is estimated for completion by summer 2024, supporting the launch of additional projects that will continue over several phases.

The Greater Dunbar Initiative is funded in part through a $30 million Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and aims to transform the community into an equitable, desirable and proud neighborhood that meets the needs of all residents.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a celebration of this community’s resilience and of the tangible progress we can make when federal and local government partners work together to address the needs of the communities we serve,” said Cindy Nava, senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

More than 200 housing officials from across the nation participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. As a HUD Choice Neighborhood, Fort Myers was selected as the host destination for the 2022 Communities of CHOICE Conference, an annual national conference held Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 that brought hundreds of housing officials and past, present and future Choice Neighborhood Initiative grantees to Southwest Florida to share and establish housing strategies.

“The City of Fort Myers, Housing Authority and many local nonprofits, government entities and community partners have played an integral role in the planning, approval and execution of this initiative, and we are thrilled to take the first step in this process,” said City of Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson. “We look forward to seeing how The Greater Dunbar Initiative will transform lives by replacing housing for existing residents and attracting new residents in a way that helps create a catalyst for reinvestment and improvements within the larger Dunbar neighborhood.”

To learn more about The Greater Dunbar Initiative, visit www.HACFM.org or call 239-344-3220.

About the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers

The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers serves as a catalyst for increasing access to safe, stable and sustainable housing and to help develop, preserve and revitalize communities through affordable rental housing. For more information, visit www.HACFM.org or call 239-344-3220.

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